Cystic Fibrosis is a rare genetic disease that for those who have it, could mean death. It causes a build-up of mucus in the lungs and pancreas, so that simply breathing is a difficult task. Los Angeles photographer Kyle Monk has always been aware of the disease, but after getting involved with the “Great Strides” walk for cystic fibrosis, he knew he needed to turn his photography towards shedding light on the disease.
It is important for me to help in any way I can with my photography. Not necessarily children or people with illnesses but to be working on projects that I find meaningful and helpful to others.
After the walk, he met with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to share his portfolio and propose his thoughts for a project. Not long after, he was photographing children, teens, and adults who volunteered to participate in the campaign. He wanted the photos to be simple, clean, and dramatic in lighting. And most of all, he wanted the viewer to feel something.
If the viewer has an emotional response, I know I’ve done something right.
Kyle says his biggest challenge with this project was capturing the right moment with the children. The children’s attention span was often short, and they would easily become distracted, bored, or antsy, and get up and leave the set.
I was an observer who watched, guided, and talked to them while anticipating the right time to snap the shutter.
The setup itself was very simple for the shoot. He set up everything in an office at the CF Foundation—three walls of black, one white card, and one light.
Kyle was happy that he was able to see the children’s families on the day of the shoot, and their reactions were so positive it gave him confirmation he was doing something meaningful. And he’s had reason to believe that his images have been connecting with people in a positive way.
To this day I get emails from people all over the world with CF, affected by CF, or somehow connected to CF, whether that be a medical professional, educator, mother, father, or family member of someone with Cystic Fibrosis.
To view more of Kyle’s work, visit kylemonk.com.